All fired up …
Finally got around to watching 300, courtesy of Netflix. It’s the story of the Spartan soldiers in the battle of Thermopylae, fighting against a much larger Persian force. Back in the spring, everyone was going nuts over the fact that the critics panned it and there were no big stars, yet audiences flocked to see it. I recall my trainer and big brother talking about it. They are both boxers with a taste for epic blood and glory stories. (I am too, actually. Braveheart and Gladiator are among my favorites.) I also recall seeing the SPARTA version of the Dramatic Prairie Dog and wondering what all the madness was about.
Now I understand. The hero story, the drama, the roller coaster of highs and lows. It sucked me in and got me all involved. I cried a few times, I yelled out loud: “Get that mother fucker! Spear through the heart!” They wonder why we Americans love watching cinematic violence. I think it’s because it makes us feel alive (most of our lives is spent sleepwalking).
Later today I plan to go check out “No Country For Old Men,” the Coen brothers’ latest. Javier Bardem, the Spanish actor who plays the protagonist (the embodiment of pure evil) initially hesitated to do the film because of the violence. But he talked it out with Joel and Ethan and they convinced him that the point of the film is that violence is meaningless. (Great Q&A in the November 2007 issue of Interview magazine, BTW).
Tarantino’s stuff conveys a similar vein. The hilarity of the killers and kills in Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. The emptiness that Beatrix Kiddo feels once she finally gets her bloody revenge. I don’t have a definitive view on violence in the media, but I do know that I positively loved “300.”